Tree of Justice Commemorative Plaque Unveiling
Thank you, Mayor. I also acknowledge the Member for Maryborough representing the Premier, Councillors, Director-General, Council staff, former friends and colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.
I also thank Mr Singho for this morning’s Welcome to Country; it is vitally important that we acknowledge our Indigenous heritage which continues to imbue contemporary Queensland life.
It is a great pleasure to be with you today; Maryborough denotes some of my most vivid memories of a happy and fulfilling childhood.
I am especially proud now, for the first time as your Governor, with Kaye, to return to Maryborough, to witness the unveiling of this plaque commemorating this historically important Jacaranda.
There are notable parallels to be drawn with the mother tree from which it was propagated.
Both adorn court entrances: the mother ‘Tree of Justice’ having shaded the entrance to the various Supreme and District Court iterations in George Street, Brisbane since the late 1800s; this Jacaranda here in Queens Park outside our State’s longest continuously used courthouse, designed by renowned Colonial Architect, FDG Stanley.
There is also the personal connection.
When I retired as Chief Justice, soon to be Governor, I was presented with a sibling sapling – it was planted at a public ceremony at Government House last July.
I say this only because my colleagues at the time referred to the then plantlet rather pessimistically as a “stick in a pot” – I suspect that’s why Government House was provided with three spares, just in case…
Both trees – the one at Government House, and this one before us, have firmly taken hold, and are growing robustly.
I express my genuine gratitude to the highly skilled Brisbane City Council, Government House and Fraser Coast Regional Council horticulturists. I thank Councillors and Council staff, and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (and I particularly thank Mr Mackie for taking such a keen personal interest in today’s ceremony), for their professionalism in seeing this project come to fruition.
And I thank the wonderful people of Maryborough – I am honoured to continue to associate myself with this vibrantly historic town.
When it matures, this Jacaranda’s brilliantly purple explosions will greatly enhance the amenity of this beneficial public space; a place where we can all look with great pride and satisfaction upon our State’s achievements, past and present.